Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert vows to end horror home record - with Manchester City next up at Villa Park
The Villains have won just five of 21 home league games under Lambert
Friday 27 September 2013
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has vowed to end his side's horror home record.
Villa Park has been anything but a fortress since Lambert took charge of the club at the start of last season.
From 21 Barclays Premier League matches on home soil under Lambert, Villa have won just five, notably chalking up nine defeats in the last 13 stretching back towards the end of December.
That run includes two losses this season in front of the Villa fans, to Liverpool and Newcastle.
With Manchester City up next on Saturday, and Tottenham after the international break on October 20, Villa's home form may not improve any time soon.
Lambert, however, knows there has to be a turnaround if Villa are to avoid another relegation dogfight.
"You need to win your home games," insisted Lambert.
"You should have a good solid base at home, but we seem to be doing it the other way around at the moment, winning away from home, and finding it hard at home. I don't know why that is. It's strange.
"It's not as if we set our stall out any differently. We always go out to try and win every game we play in, and I'll never change that
"We've too many fans who come to watch us, so we can't sit back.
"Sometimes we are forced to because visiting teams get on top of you, but we never deliberately set out to defend.
"We know it's something we have to put right, to improve, and I'm sure it will come. The law of averages says it will come."
One of the keys for such an improvement will be goalkeeper Brad Guzan who produced a superb display in last Saturday's 1-0 win at Norwich, in particular saving a penalty from Robert Snodgrass.
Crucially for Villa it was their first clean sheet in 26 league games, stretching back to a goalless draw at Stoke on December 8.
"Against Norwich his handling was brilliant, he won everything," said Lambert.
"When you've a goalkeeper like that, who you know is going to come and collect the ball, it's certainly a great thing to have.
"There are obviously some great goalkeepers out there, but I can only speak for Brad and what I see every day, what he has been like in training and in matches.
"He has been absolutely brilliant for us, and apart from that, he is an absolutely top guy."
Villa go into the clash with City with a number of players nursing knocks and niggles, although Gabriel Agbonlahor, Andreas Weimann, Fabian Delph, Ciaran Clark and Antonio Luna should all be available again.
Star striker Christian Benteke, with 23 goals in 39 league matches - including four this season - represents a significant loss, though, with a hip injury ahead of taking on a rampant City side that thumped rivals United 4-1 on Sunday.
It could mean a first league start for Libor Kozak, the £7million signing from Lazio on transfer deadline day, and who scored within 90 seconds of replacing Benteke at Carrow Road.
Lambert has been introducing the Czech Republic international slowly, but he now appears to represent the ideal replacement for Benteke against City, although the Scot has warned not to expect too much too soon.
"I remember after Christian scored in his first game against Swansea, it then took him a while to get a feel for things and get going, and the rest, as they say, is history with him," recalled Lambert.
"It wasn't as if Christian hit the ground running and became this player everybody speaks about, it took him a while to get going.
"With Kozak coming in, he's made a similar impact, and if he plays on Saturday then he has had the Norwich game to bed himself in, and the Spurs game the other night (played the first half of 4-0 Capital One Cup defeat).
"But he's only been here a few weeks, he's not been here that long at all."
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